PHOENIX PLAYERS “Godspell” Luton Library Theatre 12/5/17
Director & Choreographer: Sarah Albert MD: Malcolm Farrar
Godspell is a contemporary take on the bible with the story of Jesus told in parables. The music is lovely and the script is open to different interpretations, depending on the Director’s take on the story.
I thought Sarah Albert directed well – the show flowed well, and the cast were all very involved, making it a good ensemble piece, with a few more notable performances. I felt at times the interpretation was a little too simplistic and literal, but the overall effect created an enjoyable production.
Sarah’s choreography was original, suiting the varying abilities of the cast, which they all performed with energy and enthusiasm. I particularly liked the groups of four during Day by Day, it worked well for me.
Malcolm Farrar had a great band, lovely to see young musicians playing alongside more seasoned players. As I understand it, in his first role as MD, Malcolm coaxed some lovely harmonies from the cast, particularly Kelly and Jody in By My Side, and Jonika and Jody in On the Willows, which also featured a beautiful accompaniment. I thought the harmonies in We Beseech You waivered a bit.
Lighting was good throughout, with the Fires of Hell being extremely effective. There were a couple of places where the lighting was a little slow to kick in, and this was also true of mic cues, but mostly it was a technically sound production.
Barry Hyde played Jesus, standing out from the cast in his white ensemble, he achieved a sympathetic character, and sang well, I thought his voice became stronger over the course of the show, and I particularly enjoyed Alas for You.
The only other named part(s) – Judas and John the Baptist - were played by Richard Hines, and I enjoyed what he did with both roles. I would have liked to have seen him in all black, as a contrast to Barry, but that is just personal preference.
I liked the colourful t-shirts with the cast names on the back – it was a shame that a couple of people had darker t-shirts, so their names did not stand out. The ladies hair also looked good – tidy and away from the face so that we could appreciate their expressions, always a plus for me!
As I said, certain people stood out. Jayda Moyse performed Day By Day beautifully, she has a lovely expressive face and a strong, very musical voice, making this a memorable number.
I also appreciated the energy of Jonika Kinchin, Jody Townend, Chloe Harkin and Kelly Sheppard-Jones in their solos and duets, they performed well.
Alex Hale and Scott Newman were the only two males in the ensemble, but they integrated well, with Scott providing some amusing moments.
I liked the fact that everyone had a chance to perform, whether musically or spoken – and that there was plenty of humour, alongside some more emotional moments.
An enjoyable evening, and fun show.
Godspell Review - The Luton News 17/05/17
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